Excellent European poets will continue to enter the world via Versopolis for the coming four years.
Ljubljana, 4 December 2018 – December 1 marked the start of the second chapter for Versopolis: the European poetry platform and review of poetry books and culture. After a successful initial three-year 2014–2017 period, the platform, run by Beletrina Academic Press, organizer of the Days of Poetry and Wine festival, has received renewed support of the EU Creative Europe Programme, culture subprogramme 2017–2021. Versopolis will be one of thirteen European supported platforms.
VERSOPOLIS THE PLATFORM
Versopolis was designed as a poetry platform that creates opportunities for emerging European poets by financially and organizationally supporting translations of their poetry into English and other European languages and publishing them in printed booklets, e-books and on the www.versopolis.com website along with full profile descriptions. Versopolis also supports the poets’ mobility by organizing a number of guest appearances at different European literary festivals, which creates countless opportunities for networking with foreign publishers, literary agents, the press and other actors in the field of literature. This helps the excellent poets to breakthrough to the European and global poetry scene.
On 1 December, the already admitted poets that are proposed yearly by the member organisations will be joined by new ones. The poet and poetry database on www.versopolis.com will be expanded to include 179 poets creating in 32 different European languages and over 1800 of their poems will be published on the website.
Another expansion involves organizations that are platform members: the thirteen existing literary festival organizers from thirteen different European countries will be joined by a fourteenth: Publishers’ Forum NGO from Ukraine.
VERSOPOLIS THE EUROPEAN POETRY, BOOKS AND CULTURE PLATFORM
In March 2016, the online European Review of Poetry, Books and Culture was established as part of the Versopolis poetry platform. Its unusual online presence—the site’s background is a stark black!—and its diverse topics have attracted a wide English-reading readership in only a year and a half. When we write “diverse”, we really mean it: readers from over thirty European and non-European countries have been and will continue to be served daily articles from genres such as interviews, reports, columns, essays and reviews by authors from almost forty European and non-European countries. Our three-member editorial board has succeeded in attracting giants to write for the magazine, such as Svetlana Aleksijevič, Margaret Atwood and Claude Milner, as well as future viral authors, Austrian writer Clemens Berger, French poet Maxime Coton and Serbian author Srđan Srdić. Since its conception, over 430 articles have been published in the review and the site has been visited by over 200,000 readers. In addition to regular posts, the review has also delved in e-book publication and has published three so far: Versopolis Confession eBook, Europe is out of joint and recently, Monsters.
However, this is not all; the review will continue to grow stronger in the coming four years. The new, international editorial board led by Ana Schnabl faces fresh, big challenges: collaborations with guest editors who will create in-depth presentations on the national culture of the members joining the Versopolis project, collaborations with bloggers and vloggers, setting up the Versopolis podcast, working with mentors from the academia etc. The European review is taking on all these tasks with the aim to connect readers and authors from different European countries, to amplify the voices of those who have something to say and to shed light on topics and issues that are not adequately represented in conventional media. Every now and then, a short story is published in the review; day to day, the growing database of young European poetry can be explored under the common Versopolis brand.
WHAT NEW FEATURES ARE PROJECTED FOR THE COMING 2017–2021 PERIOD?
Based on their gained experience and detected problems, the Versopolis team has developed new models and products it will be introducing the next four years:
Versopolis education and training model
The Versopolis education and training model is intended for promising students of literature and other programs on poetry. These students will work with mentors (professors from various European universities) to edit weekly contents, writing reviews and critiques (mostly on texts by Versopolis authors) that will be published in the Versopolis review.
Versopolis corporate entrepreneurship model
The second new feature will be presenting the Versopolis platform as an example of good practice in candidate countries for the EU accession and countries that are included in the European Neighbourhood Policy. The presentations will be prepared in collaboration with local literary festivals and Creative Europe centres in Serbia, Albania, Georgia and Iceland. The goal is to empower cultural organizers by sharing knowledge, contacts and business and collaboration opportunities with the Versopolis review.
The experience gathered during the Versopolis project’s entire run will be used to create a comprehensive handbook for cultural organizers, local and national authorities and policy shapers. The handbook will include a presentation of the project, an evaluation of its outcome and recommendations for developing these kinds of projects in the future.